Luke Walton’s job has been under threat all through the ongoing NBA season. It is a known fact that wherever LeBron goes, he likes to have some degree of control over how things are run on the court.
Early on in the season, reports had come through about LeBron ignoring Luke Walton’s plays, as he did not deem them fit, especially during clutch match situations.
The Lakers however, had denied those reports, but rumors of an internal rift had broken through.
Magic Johnson wasn’t happy with how the Lakers were operating under Luke Walton and hence had a confrontation with the Lakers coach.
I think we all knew Luke Walton's days were numbered as soon as he signed JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson as part of a plan to move LeBron off the ball more often. https://t.co/vnb7KxJz0p
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) January 26, 2019
LeBron’s camp wants Luke Walton fired… pic.twitter.com/XX4ZRiiPJT
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 26, 2019
The duo admitted to things getting heated between them, but later also confirmed that they had buried the hatchet and were getting along well(at least professionally).
Now, fresh reports from the Lakers camp suggest that LeBron James’ camp want Lakers to sack Luke Walton, in the midst of a shaky time post LeBron’s groin injury.
The bomb was dropped by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, who on the ‘Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast’ confirmed that LeBron’s camp wanted Luke Walton to leave.
“There’s a lot of tension in that building. A lot of tension in that building, and I think people are wondering about Luke Walton even though Jeanie Buss came out very strongly and said ‘I want Luke to be here, I back him 100 percent,’ but then also made the point that has to be made, and that’s that she hired Earvin Magic Johnson to make these decisions, and if Earvin feels differently she gave him the power to make those kinds of decisions.” MacMullan said.
“It’s clear to me, and probably to you Brian, that LeBron’s camp would prefer a coaching change. They’re not too subtle about that.” he added.
MacMullan added that LeBron hasn’t made a public statement about this but everything points to a potential sacking for Luke Walton. MacMullan emphasised on the point that LeBron’s camp wanted him gone.
“Not LeBron, but all the people around LeBron, and they’ve made it known. I don’t think this a shock, is it? For me to say this?” MacMullan said.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 26, 2019
The Lakers find themselves in a tough spot going into the business end of the season.
Lakers find themselves in 9th place in the Western conference, with a 25-24 record. They have been without their talisman, LeBron James for more than a month now, and their world has largely come crashing down.
Luke Walton always had a tough task at hand, having to figure out how LeBron would function in a setup that was dominated by young players.
But with LeBron being out of the picture, Luke Walton hasn’t really figured out how the Lakers should setup and play.
Jeanie Buss is fond of Luke Walton and has publicly stated that the Lakers won’t be sacking him until something very drastic happens.
LeBron’s camp being upset with how Walton has adapted to coaching a LeBron-less team could be that ‘drastic situation’ that could ultimately lead to Walton’s sacking.